Monday, 24 May 2021

Balscote Quarry :: 22-23 May 2021

Saturday morning started dry and I arrived at Balscote Quarry just before 6.30am. The usual suspects were on the water and two yellow wagtails were feeding behind and to the right of the main island. A single little ringed plover appeared on the main island as I watched. A red kite cruised through and probably a coincidence but both the plover and the yellow wagtail vanished.

As 7.00am approached the numbers of sand martin started to grow from two to ten, but so were the dark clouds. A couple of swallows passed over, as did three swifts. The willow warbler has been calling constantly for weeks and showed nicely in a tree on the right of the feeder area.

Willow warbler
The rain clouds began to split and I saw the rain falling both to my left and right - I was going to get away with miising the rain. No such luck and the tail end of the darkest clouds opened and I retired to the car for shelter. In only 10 minutes or so the rain reduced to spots and I stepped back out of the car. Immediately half a dozen house martin turned into 24, passed over the road and over the reserve. Two swallows followed but they could have been the same ones as earlier. The rain seemed to wake up some of the birds and I saw a kestrel hunting over the scrub - there was generally more activity with whitethroat calls adding to the linnet, dunnock and willow warbler.

I watched a stag and doe roe deer feeding on the opposite bank and at one point thought I saw something under the doe - as it moved there was nothing there and so presumed it must have been grooming. A damp looking brown hare fed nervously to my left in the hollow. I returned home for breakfast. By late morning my suspicions about the roe deer were confirmed as photos of two fawns were posted - must have retreated into the undergrowth while I was there.

Brown hare

Later the the afternoon, as everyone else was doing something around the house, I popped back to Balscote. A single red-legged partidge was spotted in the far right of the bowl and eventually made it's way up to the feeders. The stag and doe roe deer appeared and this time I had views of the fawns but often such that a clear photo wasn't possible - with the scope on them I had great views though.

Red-legged partridge

Iain Brown dropped in wearing painting clothes - he has offered to help a friend decorate. The deer started to show a bit better and we both rattled of a few photos. Steve Holliday and his wife arrived and soon we had better views as the doe and one fawn worked their way left. We all left for home.

I returned again at 6.30am and had three mallard drop in with a grey heron - odd travel companions. The grey heron stayed only a couple of minutes and headed SE. The mallards stayed for about 20 mins and returned NW.

Grey heron

Eventually I added yellow wagtail and most of the regulars. It was a cold wind but was happy I stayed as the doe appeared on the opposite bank with both fawns - the male was far to the left. I spent the remained of the time taking photos of the group as they came in and out of cover - cute.

Roe deer
Roe deer
Roe deer
Roe deer
Roe deer
Roe deer

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